Entries Tagged 'Elections' ↓

The Sioux Falls City Council could have stopped Wholestone Foods

A group filed paperwork today in opposition to the Wholestone Foods ballot initiative. But all of this legal wrangling could have been avoided.

The mayor and council have stated several times there is nothing they can do to stop WF from building a slaughterhouse, but that isn’t true.

As I have mentioned in the past, after Shape Places passed both the council and voter’s muster it was set in ordinance (city charter law) but that doesn’t mean the city council can’t amend it. They have already amended it several times when it comes to signage and building codes.

As it stands right now, the power of the council to either accept or reject conditional use permits for large projects like this was eliminated in Shape Places.

BUT, after the ballot initiative signature drive started the council could have easily amended Shape Places within 30 days and brought back conditional use permits for projects of this nature. They could have rejected most of the permits, especially when it comes to water usage.

The mayor and council are telling you they are powerless to stop this train, but that isn’t true.

Does Jamie Smith have a fighting chance?


If you would have asked me this question the day he announced, I would have fell over laughing.

Money is the name of the game, and we could easily talk the issues, etc., but that is what wins.

But we are in strange times;

• Roe vs. Wade was overturned.

• The red state of Kansas overturned it in their state . . .

• Amendment C failed in SoDak.

We could also talk about plane trips, cheating and nepotism, but we won’t go there.

Social media today was on fire that internal and external polling show Jamie Smith is closing the GAP and is within Billie Sutton territory.

My family homesteaded in SoDak on both sides of the tree, I grew up here and my families have deep roots. No one was specifically conservative or liberal in my family, just caring, patriotic and faithful. One thing South Dakotans don’t like is liars and cheaters. Ironically, Noem could lose this race, by simply being a loser (and a liar and cheater).

Election Administration Meeting September 8, 2022

If Wholestone Foods decides to sue over the petition, who will foot the settlement?

As I have mentioned in the past, I believe the petition is unconstitutional and violates state law due to property rights.

The city council must approve the petition for the next election, but who is ultimately responsible if the petition passes voters (I think it will get over 70% approval).

If Wholestone Foods little loophole butcher shop trick does not work, they may sue the city. The defense fund would likely come from the Public Assurance Alliance, but if the city looses and WF wants damages (legal bills, etc.) it would be the taxpayers that would have to foot the bill.

I encourage you to vote NO on the petition, not because I want another sh!t factory in Sioux Falls, but because it doesn’t have the legal muster to stand, and we could ultimately be paying for it, and NOT the petitioners.

This is probably the reason they decided to do the petition. By having the voting taxpayers of this city change the law, it puts the liability on us. The petitioners could have easily just used the money to fight WF in court themselves, but this way they can wash their hands of the legal implications. Very piggish of them.

Why won’t Smart Growth Sioux Falls tell us who is funding them?

You know that old saying, ‘Follow the Money’. It was true when it was originally stated and still true today. If a candidate or ballot initiative is worthy of voters support they should be transparent about who is funding the campaigns.

Just look at the little trick the Mayor pulled giving $17,500 to a non-incumbent candidate thru his PAC and cleverly hiding it from the voters by giving the money AFTER the final reporting period before the election. But, Hey, I have never accused PTH of being transparent.

Fast forward to the folks trying to stop Wholestone (they will fail). They say they won’t release the names though many have speculated it involves a certain business mogul who owns gobs of housing development land around the proposed packing plant. They can only run for so long since the finance report is due in September.

Why not get a head of the hubbub and just tell people now who is funding the campaign? Oh that’s right, because it has partisan Republican hacks running the campaign and funding it. Robert Peterson who is the son and basement dweller of Bill and Sue Peterson (former and current legislators) is running a childish and non-transparent campaign. While telling voters and petition signers this is about the stench of a packing plant it is really about land investment. I have said all along of Peterson and his cabal of campaign investors were really concerned about the smell of dead hogs they would have written a petition that bans ALL large scale packing plants in Sioux Falls which would send the Chinese Communists running the S-Hole plant downtown literally packing and would have also stopped WF from building or expanding.

There has all been a lot of crying from the campaign that the city council and mayor are not helping them. Let me clue you in as to why. If the city government would make even the smallest attempt to stop WF, they would get their asses sued (in other words the taxpayers would get sued). The land is already owned by WF and zoned properly according to Shape Places. The city has no options in stopping it.

There is also another factor the campaign won’t tell us about, immigrant workforce. WF has already said they will likely build housing for an immigrant workforce adjacent to the packing plant.

One thing I have learned from being a part of a petition that was thrown out by the city is that you should always have the lawyers look at your petition before you move forward and make sure it is rock solid. I saw issues with this before they even collected one signature.

Like I said, it will likely pass over 75%, but it won’t really matter, because they found a loophole and all the crying in the world won’t stop it now.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken’s PAC dumps $17,500 into Dr. Sarah Cole’s Campaign

Bought and paid for.

That was my argument all along with Cole’s candidacy. A person who hasn’t bothered to vote in a local election the entire time she has lived here (another story our incredibly inept local media never touched). It’s one thing for the mayor to endorse a candidate running against an incumbent, it’s whole other ball of wax to dump this amount of money (after the final financial disclosure before the election) towards the challenger.

You have to be one major bitter, vengeful, vindictive person to go above and beyond to eliminate an incumbent, who ironically voted for almost 99% of the mayor’s policies.

Notice how the listing of the PAC is also improper (it should be Next Generation Leadership PAC). It is also concerning that the PAC itself has yet to file their July financial report. Yesterday at 5 PM was the deadline.

You will also notice that Cole spent almost $23K on advertising and over $5k on consulting. Ironically, Rich Merkouris almost spent the exact same amount on advertising. Cole never voted in a municipal election before. She never raised her own campaign funds and it appears she had little to do with running the campaign.

UPDATE: I did find the PAC’s filings on the SOS website. The original filing was in May and an amended one in June. It is pretty clear that the entities and individuals who gave to the PAC knew exactly where the money was going;

Has Minnehaha County Commissioners lost confidence in outgoing auditor Kyte?

To say the job Auditor Kyte performed last Tuesday was less than stellar is an understatement. It was a disaster. Besides the wrong ballots being handed out in several precincts and the calling out of NON-REPUBLICANS showing up to vote against Amendment C, there was also the issue of Kyte running an election where he appeared on the ballot (a possible violation of state law). Well he did lose. But many have been asking if he is qualified to run a general election (his term doesn’t end until the Spring of 2023) or if they need to bring in outside help. Apparently it didn’t take the MCC very long to come up with a solution, posting this job ad on Friday;

Mayor TenHanken’s Latest Interview

I guess I missed this interview from a couple of days ago;

In the past four years, his city department head leadership team has changed considerably. There are new police and fire chiefs, new faces leading public health, planning and innovation. He has a new finance director and city attorney.

“So I spent four years building that team, and now for the next four years, we’ve got the team together, and I think we can do a lot.”

He has really spent the past four years dealing with a revolving door. Many people he chose after being elected to his first term have left. He has had to appoint a new city attorney, a new planning director, a new health director and police chief. He has also had to appoint 2 different Fire Chiefs. He is on his 2nd IT and technology director. He has also lost a deputy chief of staff, a housing director and his chief cultural officer. I am unclear what he means by building a team?

Often times whether it is in the private sector or public sector many times directors and department heads leave an organization because of (lack of) leadership. Sure, retirements do occur, but with this much turnover in just 4 years you have to question the relationship he has with his city directors? This may explain why his administration is so busy fiddling with the legislative process instead of running the city (his duties under the charter).

“Everyone wants to know what are we doing about housing, and I can tell you it’s just so challenging right now, with land costs and with attitudes about infill development,” TenHaken said. “If we can move two or three houses or create small programs to give developers a little bit of cost savings, we’re just hitting singles. There’s no home runs to be found.”

That’s because the housing crisis will not be solved in Sioux Falls until we solve the wage problem. We also can’t be constantly cramming affordable housing into certain neighborhoods, it has to be spread throughout the community. I know it is NOT an easy thing to fix overnight, but what groundwork has been laid over the past 10-15 years or even past 4 years on this issue? I will continue to cross my fingers that the city will implement real programs to fix up our core, build density and create more housing, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in this current city government makeup that they have any long term solutions.

There also will be a project to complement the downtown parking ramp on the north side of 10th Street east of Phillips Avenue, TenHaken said.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “We’re going to soon be announcing the timeline and process for interested parties to begin expressing interest in the site, so I think it will be good in the second term to get that underway.”

So the ink has barely dried on the check we sent to the defunk developer of the Bunker Ramp and we are already going to send out an RFP on what to do with the site? Which says to me, someone has already pitched the city an idea (we can make our guesses who this developer will be). Not sure what you could do with the site, but I have often suggested a multiple story studio apartment building.

Trying to solve the issue of child care is a bit like tackling housing, he said.

“There’s no silver bullet solution, but the discussions we’re having and the work and partnership we’re forming with the school district is something that’s never been done in the city before … kids and families is something we’re going to lay overtop of almost every decision we’re making.”

I often shake my head when community leaders across the country think they have some simple, unique solution to fixing the child care issues in their communities. Two things that could drastically change that situation in Sioux Falls would be higher wages and Federally funding for Pre-K education. Government is NOT always the solution, but in this situation non-profits, churches and private schools can’t solve this by themselves, there needs to be a government safety net for the kids that fall thru those cracks. So what is standing in our way? Partisanship, which brings us to his final thoughts;

“I think the next political cycle is going to be very ugly, so how do I as a mayor try to maintain a spirit of unity and a One Sioux Falls mindset when national news and all these forces tell us there are constant things we need to fight about, and that’s why (I focus) on the 95 percent of where we’re alike to keep moving forward.”

He is correct, politics have become ugly and getting worse. Why? Because Republicans like TenHaken have made local traditionally non-partisan politics into partisan. Everything has become about one-party rule, even on a supposed non-partisan branch of government like city council. I saw this rear its head during TenHaken’s first campaign, it got worse in ousting councilor Stehly and recently Brekke. It has become an all out death match to the end. And I’m not talking about a difference between Republican or Democratic philosophies, those are easy to break down. It is a devision between the elite, authoritarian Republicans and the traditional fiscal conservative Republicans and social conscious Democrats. The authoritarians like Noem and TenHaken are in charge and they will do anything in their power to squash a dissenting view on how to tackle an issue. Solutions come from bringing every view to the table. This is why they had to eliminate Theresa and Janet, they asked too many questions, and you never question the King.

I would like to think that things will be different in Sioux Falls in next 2-4 years, but with cruise control government, a lack of transparency, a rubber stamp council and very little planning or vision, I think we will still be talking about the same challenges in the Spring of 2026, just more exacerbated.


It is such an honor to be elected to this seat on the City Council. I always encourage my kids about being the change that we want to see in the world. There are things that happen in our world that we have no control over, but we can control ourselves and our response to those issues. 

Yeah, it’s called voting in local elections. I still find it incredibly ironic and hypocritical that the first vote Cole cast in a Sioux Falls city election was a vote for herself 🙂 and the media has yet to touch that with a ten foot pole. Her absence in participating in local elections tells us all we will need to know about what her performance will be on the city council. Thank goodness the Mayor already setup a team of fellow rubber stampers for her so she doesn’t have to fart around for 4 years setting up that groundwork.

Vote NO on Amendment C

I’m flattered

I had to laugh that newly elected councilor stole my cartoon idea in this article;

“My joke is: a doctor, a lawyer and a preacher walked into a bar …” Barranco said of himself and his fellow incoming council members.

He also said this;

He also sees the commanding re-election of TenHaken – and the election of all candidates he endorsed – as a sign that residents are happy with how things are going and that “the city’s on track.”

Yes David, a very small percentage that bothered to vote in North Harrisburg are just tickled Taupe.